Opinion

America is under assault. Those who love our nation must defend her

National Review magazine asked a wide array of writers, thinkers, and public officials to sign on to a statement describing the challenge to the American project and how to respond. The following was published in the magazine’s May 31 edition.

A Statement…

We live in an age of increasing national self-doubt.

The American project, as such, is under assault. Our history is the subject of a revisionist critique that is all-encompassing, unsparing, and very often flatly inaccurate. Our traditional heroes are under threat of being run out of the national pantheon. Our institutions, from elections to the job market to law enforcement, stand accused of perpetuating a systemic racism that is impossible to eradicate. Our educational system, from kindergarten through graduate school, is increasingly a forum for crude propagandizing. Our system of government is attacked as archaic, unfair, and racially biased. Our traditional values of fair play, free speech, and religious liberty are trampled by inflamed ideologues determined to impose their will by force and fear.

The national mood resembles those of the 1930s and 1970s, when radical critiques of America got considerable traction and our national self-confidence often seemed to hang by a thread.

It is in this context that we reclaim what once was a consensus view of America that has now become bitterly contested.

No matter the fashion of the moment, we believe that America is a fundamentally fair society with bountiful opportunity; that its Founding was a world-historical event of the utmost importance and established governing institutions of enduring value; that its original sins have been honorably, if belatedly, repudiated; that it came to be wealthy and powerful primarily through its own internal strengths, not via expropriation and conquest; that its model of ordered liberty is a boon to human flourishing; that its people are a marvel and its greatest resource; that its best days needn’t be behind it, and that it remains a beacon to mankind.

To the extent that these notions are falling out of favor, it is the responsibility of those who love America to revivify them.

Even some on the right have become disenchanted with the American project and are prepared to quit on it on grounds that it is already lost or hopelessly corrupted.

There is no doubt that the country faces severe challenges, many the result of shortsightedness and wishful thinking, but we still have an enormous capacity for renewal. It is because our ancestor patriots rejected despair and kept faith with America that we are here to fight another day.

The ultimate answer to the illiberalism ascendant on college campuses and elsewhere and to the rampaging anti-Americanism of our elite culture will have to be found in the common sense and decency of the American people. The rule of law, federalism, and the protections of the U.S. Constitution continue to be bulwarks against the most ambitious designs of ideological fanatics. Families, churches and synagogues, neighborhoods, and voluntary associations — all under pressure — remain the foundations of society, more relevant to the lives of individuals and communities than social media or edicts from Washington.

In protecting and revitalizing America, there is no substitute for the hard work of public persuasion.

We represent various points on the conservative spectrum and may travel under different labels. We certainly have disagreements about policy questions and priorities. But we are united as devotees of America. We continue to be thankful for her, and we are determined to defend her and lift her up.

Elliott Abrams
Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Author

William B. Allen
Emeritus Dean and Professor, Michigan State University

Ryan T. Anderson
President, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Andre Archie
Associate Professor, Colorado State University

Hadley Arkes
Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus, Amherst College

William P. Barr
Former Attorney General of the United States

Martha Bayles
Boston College

James W. Ceaser
Professor, University of Virginia

Victoria Coates
Distinguished Fellow in Strategic Studies, American Foreign Policy Council

Elizabeth Corey
Associate Professor of Political Science in the Honors College, Baylor University

Dan Crenshaw
Member of Congress

Marjorie Dannenfelser
President, Susan B. Anthony List

Christopher DeMuth
Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute

Betsy DeVos

Dick DeVos

Robert Doar
President, American Enterprise Institute

Doug Ducey
Governor of Arizona

Mary Eberstadt
Panula Chair in Christian Culture, Catholic Information Center
Senior Research Fellow, Faith and Reason Institute

Erick Erickson
Host, the Erick Erickson Show

Niall Ferguson
Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution

Ed Feulner
Washington, D.C.

Matthew J. Franck
Senior Fellow, Witherspoon Institute

Mary Ann Glendon
Learned Hand Professor of Law, Emerita Harvard University

Allen C. Guelzo
Princeton University

Mary Katharine Ham
Author and Commentator, CNN

Mark Helprin
Author

Hugh Hewitt
Host, the Hugh Hewitt Show

Kay Hymowitz
William E. Simon Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Philip Klein
Editor, National Review Online

Yuval Levin
Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Glenn C. Loury
Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences, Brown University

Tiana Lowe
Commentator, the Washington Examiner and the First TV

Rich Lowry
Editor in Chief, National Review

Mario Loyola
Florida International University
Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Rachel Lu
Associate Editor, Law & Liberty

Myron Magnet
Author, The Founders at Home

Daniel J. Mahoney
Professor Emeritus, Assumption University
Senior Fellow, RealClearFoundation

Harvey C. Mansfield
William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government, Harvard University

Michael B. Mukasey
Former Attorney General of the United States

Andrew C. McCarthy
Senior Fellow, National Review Institute

Michael McCaul
Member of Congress

Charles Murray
F. A. Hayek Chair Emeritus in Cultural Studies, American Enterprise Institute

Darcy Olsen
Founder, Gen Justice

John O’Sullivan
President, Danube Institute

John Podhoretz
Editor, Commentary

Ramesh Ponnuru
Editor, National Review

Wilfred Reilly
Associate Professor, Kentucky State University

Naomi Schaefer Riley
Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Karl Rove

Avik Roy
President, the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity

Diana Schaub
Professor of Political Science, Loyola University Maryland
Nonresident Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Carrie Severino
President, Judicial Crisis Network

Serena Sigillito
Editor at Large, Public Discourse

Christina Hoff Sommers
Senior Fellow Emeritus, American Enterprise Institute

Jim Talent
Former Senator from Missouri

Pat Toomey
Senator from Pennsylvania

George Weigel
Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Bob Woodson
Founder and President, the Woodson Center

Signer affiliations are for identification and do not necessarily reflect institutional endorsement